Where did the Confederate flag come from?
Today, the Confederate flag, AKA Rebel Flag, holds a lot of meaning. This meaning can vary depending on who you ask. For many, it sends a powerful message despite being one fairly simple symbol.
No matter what your views of the flag today, its history remains one of rebellion and defiance. Ready to learn more about how the Confederate flag turned into the symbol we know of today? Read on to better understand Confederate flag history facts!
The Confederate Flag History
This flag’s history starts in 1861 when the Confederate Congress adopted the “Stars and Bars” configuration in order to resemble America’s “Stars and Stripes” flag. However, this flag proved to be a dangerous banner on the battlefield. Since it too closely resembled the American flag and was easily confused.
Today’s Confederate flag is often misrepresented as the “Stars and Bars” but this was, in fact, a different flag that was replaced by the Confederate flag we know of today.
Confederate armies used a number of different battle flags throughout the Civil War. As the war progressed they wanted a flag that looked nothing like the American flag. Since they were fighting to separate from the union.
The Confederate flag that we know of today, was actually first used by the commanders of the Confederate army in Virginia. At the time they were considered the Confederate Army of the Potomac. Its earliest use was very practical. They wanted a banner for their troops to use during battle.
This was the flag that General Robert E. Lee was known to fight under. The Confederate army felt this flag was the embodiment of everything that the Confederacy was fighting for and represented their independence.
Lee’s flag had gained popularity because of his victories in 1862 and 1863. So his flag was seen as an honorable symbol to the other Confederate soldiers. They felt that this flag would be the best representation of their troops.
On May 1, 1863, the Confederate army made the Army of Northern Virginia’s flag their official banner. At this time it was also known as the “Stainless Banner.” It remained the symbol of the Confederacy ever since.
Symbol of the South?
The flag continued to be used throughout history even after the war ended. In the south, it has been used to honor fallen soldiers during funerals. It can still be seen at memorials and commemorations of the Civil War and the lost nation.
In 1941, the United Confederate Veterans officially defined the Confederate flag as the flag of Lee’s army. This essentially made it the sole flag representing the Confederacy. The United Daughters of the Confederacy used this flag as well to represent the south.
The original Confederate flag was square. However, today we see it represented as a rectangular flag in order to match a more common flag shape. It has been called by many names throughout the years including the rebel flag, southern cross, and the Dixie flag.
Confederate Flag Controversy
Today, the Confederate flag is known to stir up a lot of controversies. For some, it represents the history of the south. While others see it as a symbol of hate and slavery. There are many layers of meaning that can be found with the symbol of the Confederate flag.
Even before World War II, the flag started to take on more than a meaning of southern heritage. Some questioned the display of a flag that represented a time of disunity and treason.
It was also used by young white southerners as a representation of their region. As opposed to a strictly memorial context.
Symbol of Segregation
It was further brought into the forefront of political issues during the Jim Crow segregation. The flag was used as a pro-segregation symbol in 1948. Supporters of the States Right Party or the Dixiecrats preached the rights of the state as part of the Constitution.
However, this also translated into the denial of fundamental human and civil rights for African American individuals.
When Brown v. Board of Education passed in 1954, the Confederate flag was even more prominent as a political statement. The legislature made segregation in schools illegal at the federal level.
To this day Mississippi still has the Confederate flag incorporated into its state flag. Georgia removed it from their state flag in 2003.
Removal from Memorials
There have been mixed feelings about its removal from many Confederate memorials throughout the south.
In the aftermath of a mass shooting of African Americans attending church by a white supremacist, at least 110 Confederate monuments and symbols had been removed.
This included the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds. The ceremony of its removal was an end to its 54-year presence. And a victory for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) who had been boycotting the flag for many years.
To some, the Confederate flag is a representation of the South’s history during the Civil War. Others see it as a symbol of segregation and white supremacy.
Some believe the flag is being misrepresented as a symbol of hate and feel it is getting a negative connotation. Many southerners enjoy displaying their flags out of respect for their heritage. They do not use it as a symbol of hate.
Depending on the time period, this flag has been a powerful image for different people and for various meanings. Those who find it inappropriate feel strongly against its display. However, some believe that it is our first amendment right as American citizens to own whatever flags we choose.
There are still more than 1700 Confederate memorials remaining throughout the south. Many southerners still display this flag with pride and as a representation of their heritage.
Flags Through History
The Confederate flag history is still prominent today in its use at Confederate memorials and statues.
We believe that this flag should continue to be sold as a representation of our freedom of speech. Boycotting and banning flags does not serve to protect the rights of either side of a disagreement.
Are you looking to purchase your own historic flag? Whether it’s the Confederate flag or some other symbol of pride, you can find the best banner for you on our flag shopping site.
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